At Central Synagogue

Chanukah at Central Synagogue

We come together at Chanukah to celebrate with a variety of holiday events and activities.

Events for Everyone

Chanukah Lights Up the World
Tuesday, December 17, 2019, Lindenbaum Pavilion
Reception: 6:30 pm; Concert: 7:00 – 8:00 pm

Revel in international songs and stories inspired by the Festival of Lights; from klezmer and ladino, to classical opera and jazz, and a special appearance by Cantor Daniel Mutlu. Families welcome.
Members: $18; Non-members: $25.
Get tickets

Shabbat Chanukah
Friday, December 27, 2019, Main Sanctuary, 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Join the community as we light the Chanukiah and sing Chanukah songs during Shabbat services. Open to all.

Events for Families

Chanukah Family Celebration (Age 2 – Grade 5)
Sunday, December 15, 2019, Lindenbaum Pavilion, 2:00 – 4:00 pm

Bring light to the lives of New Yorkers who need it. Celebrate Chanukah with 8 different chesed projects benefiting local non-profits. Make toys for shelter animals, decorate cards for homebound seniors, send a special greeting to troops serving abroad, and much more. This event is free; please register.

Tot Chanukah Celebration (Ages 0 – 2)
Tuesday, December 17, 2019, Lese Lobby, 12:15 – 1:00 pm

Celebrate Chanukah with singing, dancing, puppets, and more. Led by Shira Kobren Wasserman, this celebration is open to all; registration required.

Please consider donating a toy to a child living in transitional housing. Toys may be sent to: Central Synagogue, c/o Amy Martin, 123 East 55th Street, 7th floor, NY, NY 10022 Visit the Amazon Wish List.

About the Holiday

Chanukah is an eight day festival of light that falls in the Hebrew month of Kislev (typically December in the secular calendar). The word Chanukah, meaning “dedication” in Hebrew, refers to the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem when a small group of Jews, led by Judah Maccabee and his brothers, were victorious over Syrian armies in 165 B.C.E. The Syrians sought to destroy the Holy Temple and the practice of Judaism, but the small Jewish army prevailed. The story of Chanukah is not mentioned at all in the Torah, or Hebrew bible, but is found in a group of later Hebrew writings called Macabees I and II.

We associate Chanukah with miracles not only because of the military victory of the Macabees, but because of a later Talmudic story describing a single day’s supply of oil lasting for a full eight nights. This miracle enabled the Jews to replenish their oil supply during the rededication of the holy Temple.

Chanukah provides an opportunity for us to celebrate light during a time of early sunsets and lengthening evenings. We literally bring light into the darkness by lighting the Chanukiah, a special menorah for Chanukah. We use a shamash, (helper candle) to light the menorah, adding one additional candle each night until our Chanukiah glows with all eight candles plus the shamash on the final night. We remember the Talmudic miracle of oil by enjoying foods prepared in oil including latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly donuts). We also play dreidel, a game with a spinning top where they aim to win coins or treats such as chocolate foil-wrapped coins called gelt.

Chanukah with

For helpful how-to videos, resources to learn more about the holiday’s history and customs, recipes, eCards, and family activities to help you celebrate, visit

Chanukah Blessings

Blessing 1:

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tsivanu l’hadlik ner shel Chanukah.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, who hallows us with mitzvot, commanding us to kindle the Chanukah lights.

Blessing 2:

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, she-asah nisim laavoteinu v’imoteinu bayamim hahaeim baz’man hazeh.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, who performed wondrous deeds for our ancestors in days of old at this season.

Blessing 3 (first night only):

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, shehecheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higianu laz’man hazeh.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, for giving us life, for sustaining us, and for enabling us to reach this season.

Chanukah 2019

December 22 - 30

Youth & Family Engagement

Learn about our family Chanukah programs »